DAIRY FARMERS should steer clear of complacency about quota because of lower milk production, warns the ADAS Dairy Group.

The quota shortfall is expected to reach 142 million litres by the end of the year, but the butterfat adjustment could cut 50 million litres off that.

Butterfat has been increasing since September 2003, and is currently running two points above base at nearly 3.99%.

“Each month has been higher than the corresponding month last year, and the question is whether the producers try to increase volume in the light of higher cull numbers and low prices to take advantage of the situation,” said ADAS director Nick Holt-Martyn.

But Charles Holt of the Farm Consultancy Group believes that producers will struggle to get to quota.

“Silage is good and people have their foot on the gas: They‘ve got every reason to step up production,” he said.

“Butterfat on its own is not going to push us over quota – there will have to be an increase in production.”